Homeland Security

Funding for Regional Radio Communications Center

Proposal

The City of Laredo is vulnerable to a variety of hazards that threaten our businesses and environment. Our City management and elected officials have taken a proactive approach to keeping our community safe. One way to ensure a safer community is the creation of a Regional Radio Communications Center that will serve as a regional hub for disaster and emergency radio communications.

 

Recent emergency incidents have shown the need for all dispatchers of local, state and federal agencies be housed in one location. Our response required coordination and information sharing. However, we lacked simple face to face communications that could be easily achieved if all agencies were housed together under one roof. We need a dedicated facility for emergency radio communications and information sharing. This will be beneficial during a major event as well as on a daily basis for optimal situational awareness and threat monitoring.

 

Thus, the purpose of the Communications Center is to provide a location where multiple public safety agencies can coordinate to make decisions, dispatch resources, and share critical information. The Communications Center is a support element to the Incident Command structure. For all incidents, regardless of cause, response will focus on actions taken to save lives, sustain life, and protect infrastructure. Its design will be such that our public safety officials will be able to mitigate emergencies or disasters on both sides of the border. The City recognizes that a disaster that affects our neighbors to the south will defiantly affect our community. Coordination with Mexican authorities via our Radio Communications Center is essential.

Background

Laredo, Texas is located on the US/Mexico border in Webb County. The City’s jurisdictional boundaries consist of 83.44 square miles with 40% of this land area being utilized for residential purposes. An additional 43% is used for commercial, industrial, or institutional purposes according to the Laredo Development Foundation. The Laredo Fire Department is the primary provider of Mutual Aid to the surrounding counties of Zapata, Jim Hogg, La Salle and Webb Counties.

 

Additionally, Laredo is the main NAFTA corridor for the United States and correspondingly in Texas for international trade. Laredo has four international bridges and carries 50% of all NAFTA related trade through Texas. Fifty percent of the trade that crosses through Laredo is hazardous material. United States, Mexico, Central and South America’s economies depend on secure bridges (the artery through which life flows for the business-trade sector). Terrorist actions or any disruptive situations would be detrimental to local, state, national and international economies. As per 2015 statistics, Laredo remains the number one inland port in the United States with $284.33 billion in trade in the world. Almost half of the cargo that travels through the Laredo Corridor by land and rail carry hazardous materials. Laredo has an enormous potential for a disaster involving hazardous materials due to the volume of hazmat cargo, commerce, and tourism present on both sides of the border. Additionally, Laredo has over 5, 075 acres of warehouse space, and at least a quarter of that space contains hazardous materials and is highly    vulnerable to terrorism and biochemical terrorism.

 

The City of Laredo is approximately 150 miles away from any community that has the capability to assist us in an emergency situation. Due to this, Laredo is the primary emergency response mechanism to any emergency within our region. In order to utilize incident command procedures to its fullest potential, a facility must be dedicated for mid to large-scale emergency communications. Currently, all public safety entities have their own radio communication centers. The need for all entities to work under one roof will greatly improve interoperability and information sharing. It is for this reason that we respectfully request the funding to assist us in the construction and implementation of a new dedicated Emergency Radio Communications Center.

 

Contact

Steve Landin
Fire Chief
616 E. Del Mar Blvd.
Laredo, TX 78045
Phone: (956) 718-6020
Fax: (956) 728-7119
Email: slandin@ci.laredo.tx.us